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Best Overall: Dragon Professional Individual at Amazon
"Packed with a truckload of features and extensive customization capabilities."
Best for Windows 10: Built-In Dictation at support.microsoft.com
"The improved Dictation feature lets you capture all your thoughts and ideas using just your voice, quickly and accurately."
Best for MacOS: Built-In Dictation at support.apple.com
"Surprisingly accurate and responsive, it makes converting your spoken words into text a walk in the park."
Best for Enterprises: Dragon Professional Group at Amazon
"Allows employees to create documentation three times faster, and with up to 99 percent recognition accuracy."
Best Free: Microsoft Dictate at dictate.ms
"Can automatically translate voice input to 60 different languages and in real-time."
Best with Virtual Assistant Features: Braina at brainasoft.com
"A unique speech to text software that boasts extensive virtual assistant features."
Best Online: Google Voice Typing at support.google.com
"All you need is a Google account, Chrome Web browser, and a reliable Internet connection."
Best for iOS: Built-In Dictation Functionality at support.apple.com
"Works great with all apps (both official and third-party) that accept text input."
Best for Android: Gboard Voice Typing at play.google.com
"You can use your voice for everything from writing e-mails to responding to text messages."
Courtesy of Amazon
Dragon has always been the gold standard of speech recognition programs, and that continues to be the case even today. Packed with a truckload of features and extensive customization capabilities, Dragon Professional Individual is undeniably the best speech to text software available. Its next-generation speech engine uses "Deep Learning" technology, thereby allowing the program to adapt to the user’s voice and environmental variations – even when they’re dictating. It automatically learns the user’s most-used words and phrases to minimize corrections and optimizes accuracy for speakers with accents.
Thanks to the "Smart Format Rules" feature, users can easily configure how they want specific items (e.g. dates, phone numbers) to appear. Dragon Professional Individual's advanced personalization features allow it to be tailored for maximum efficiency and productivity. You can import/export custom word lists for acronyms and unique business-specific terms, configure custom voice commands for quickly inserting frequently used content (e.g. text, graphics) in documents, and even create time-saving macros to automate multi-step tasks with simple voice commands.
If you want a reliable speech to text solution for Windows 10, you don't even need to look elsewhere, as Microsoft's newest OS already comes with one. Introduced as part of the April 2018 update, the improved Dictation feature lets you capture all your thoughts and ideas using just your voice, quickly and accurately. Since it's deeply integrated into the operating system, Dictation works flawlessly with just about any text field in Windows 10. To get started, simply select a text field (e.g. Microsoft Word document, E-mail compose box), use the "Windows + H" key combination to launch the dictation toolbar, and begin speaking.
You can easily dictate most letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and symbols by just saying their names (e.g. to insert $, say "dollar symbol" or "dollar sign"). Dictation also supports numerous voice commands that allow you to select/edit text, move the cursor to a specified location, and more. It's worth noting that this feature is currently available in U.S. English only, and your PC needs to be connected to the Internet in order to use it.
There aren't really any speech to text software programs available for MacOS. But then, with the excellent Dictation feature built right into Apple's desktop operating system, there's no need for third-party solutions anyway. Surprisingly accurate and responsive, it makes converting your spoken words into text a walk in the park.
To set up Dictation, navigate to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Keyboard, and click on the "Dictation" tab. Here, you can select the dictation language, choose whether to use "Enhanced Dictation" (It can be used offline, and supports continuous input and live feedback) and configure other options. Being a native component of the operating system, Dictation works great with any text field in MacOS.
To use it, just place the cursor in any text field (e.g. Apple Pages document, E-mail compose window), press the "Fn" key twice to activate dictation, and start speaking. Since this feature learns the characteristics of your voice and adapts to your accent, it gets better with continued use. Dictation supports multiple voice commands for all standard operations (e.g. selecting/formatting text, moving the cursor to a specific position, entering punctuation marks/symbols), and allows you to create your own as well.
For more Mac programs, check out our guide to the best video editing software for Macs and the best Mac desktop publishing software.
Even though documentation is a crucial part of any organization's day-to-day workflow, it usually takes up a lot of valuable time and resources. However, it doesn't have to be that way, thanks to Dragon Professional Group. The best speech to text software for enterprises, it allows employees to create documentation three times faster (as compared to typing), and with up to 99 percent recognition accuracy. This is made possible by the program's next-generation speech engine, which uses "Deep Learning" technology to achieve high recognition accuracy while dictating, even for users with accents or those working in open office spaces.
Dragon Professional Group also makes it simple to automate repetitive tasks and streamline multi-step processes. You can configure custom voice commands for quickly inserting frequently-used items (e.g. signatures) into documents, create time-saving macros, and even add industry-specific terms to the software's vocabulary, which can be then shared with other employees.
The program also comes with "Nuance Management Center," a centralized user administration console that allows for easy management of everything from user profiles to custom command databases.
Courtesy of Microsoft
If you think free speech to text programs can't be as good as paid ones, Microsoft's Dictate is here to prove you wrong. A product of Microsoft Garage (the company's division where employees work on projects that they are passionate about), this feature-laden software uses the same state-of-the-art speech recognition technology that powers Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant.
Dictate is essentially an add-in for Microsoft Office, and works with Outlook, Word, and PowerPoint. Once installed, it can be accessed via the "Dictation" tab in the Ribbon toolbar. Dictate supports voice commands for all standard operations (e.g. typing/editing text, taking the cursor to a new line), and allows punctuations to be added either automatically or manually.
The program features visual feedback to indicate that speech is being processed and supports dictation in more than 20 languages. However, what's really impressive is that it can automatically translate voice input to 60 different languages and that too in real-time. Microsoft Dictate is compatible with Office 2013 or later, and works with Windows 8.1 or above.
Courtesy of iTunes
Speech recognition programs are great for converting your voice to text, but what if you could also use one to set alarms, and maybe even search files on your computer? With Braina, you can do just that, and a heck of a lot more. Powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Braina is a unique speech to text software that boasts extensive virtual assistant features.
The multi-functional program lets you use natural language commands to control your PC and perform a diverse range of tasks, all from a convenient single-window environment. Whether it's searching for information online, performing complex mathematical calculations, playing your favorite songs and videos, taking down notes, setting reminders, opening specific files/programs/websites, getting local news and weather information, or just about anything else, Braina can do it all.
It also supports custom voice commands and macros, which make it easy to automate repetitive tasks. As far as the speech to text functionality is concerned, the program supports voice dictation in over 100 different languages and accents (e.g. English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Japanese), with up to 99 percent accuracy.
Google Docs includes a lot of useful features, such as multi-user collaboration, add-on compatibility, and version history. However, the Web-based word processor also supports Google's Voice Typing functionality, which makes it among the best online speech to text solutions available out there. All you need is a Google account, Chrome web browser, and a reliable Internet connection.
To get started, simply open a document in Google Docs, and select "Voice typing..." from the "Tools" menu. After allowing the browser to access your PC's microphone, click the microphone box to start speaking, and Voice Typing will convert your words to text in real-time.
For best results, it's important that you speak clearly, and at a normal pace. Google Voice Typing allows dictation in many languages (e.g. English, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Thai), and you can select one via the microphone box before you start speaking. All standard operations (e.g. selecting/editing text, applying formats, moving the cursor to a specified point in the document) can be performed using voice commands.
Courtesy of Apple
Apple's iOS is (and has always been) renowned for its out-of-the-box nature. All the features in the mobile operating system are readily usable, and voice typing is no exception. If you want a dependable speech to text solution for your iPhone and/or iPad, you've got one integrated right into iOS. Since the voice dictation feature can be accessed via default iOS keyboard, it works great with all apps (both official and third-party) that accept text input. This means that you can do everything from composing emails to taking notes, using your voice.
To dictate text in any app, simply tap the microphone icon on the iOS keyboard, and start speaking. When you're dictating, an animated waveform is displayed to indicate that speech is being processed. If there are any errors (e.g. spelling mistakes) in the transcribed text, they can be fixed manually. Dictation in iOS works offline (for selected languages), and there's voice command support for the majority of operations (e.g. formatting text, adding punctuations).
Courtesy of Google Play
Of the many keyboard apps available for Android, Gboard is arguably the most popular. Google's keyboard comes with a lot of nifty features, such as glide typing and one-handed mode. But apart from these, it also includes solid speech recognition capabilities. You can use your voice for everything from writing e-mails to responding to text messages, as Gboard's Voice Typing works with any Android app that accepts text input. To use the feature, all you have to do is tap the microphone icon (located at the right side of Gboard's suggestion strip), and start dictating when "Speak now" is displayed.
Any errors in the transcribed text can be manually corrected. You can also use Gboard's Voice Typing functionality to replace words in any document or message. For this, select the target word, and tap the microphone icon. Once "Speak now" is displayed, say the new word to have it replace the existing word. Gboard supports voice dictation in multiple languages and can be used offline as well.
Our writers spent 7 hours researching the most popular speech to text software on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 15 different software overall, screened options from 8 different brands and manufacturers, read over 100 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 4 of the software themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.